Ph.D. Clinical Psychology with Major Area of Study in Trauma Psychology

Clinical Psychology, Ph.D.

Major Area of Study in Trauma Psychology

Program Delivery

On Campus

Total Credits

101 Credits

About the Program

The program trains students according to the scientist-practitioner model in mental health diagnosis, assessment, and intervention for adults who have experienced traumas, and in basic and applied research on the psychological functioning of adults with a trauma history. Upon completion of the program, students will be prepared to work in a range of settings, including mental health clinics and clinical practices, hospitals, VA’s, colleges and universities, state offices, research institutes, and as consultants to a wide variety of other professional and community providers of services to adults who are trauma survivors.

The deadline for application to the Ph.D. program is November 15.

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

Academic Program Professional Licensure Disclosure

Focus of Study

Students will develop foundational skills in the science and practice of clinical psychology with an emphasis on trauma psychology. They will be prepared to provide diverse empirically based assessment and psychotherapeutic services, conduct research, educate, and provide leadership. We aim to provide foundational knowledge to students seeking scientist-practitioner careers and specialty training in Trauma Psychology.

Program Requirements

Knowledge and skills in clinical psychology and basic scientific psychology are the foundations on which the trauma psychology focus is built. Students in this program are preparing to be clinical psychologists first and foremost, with a focus on trauma psychology as their curricular emphasis. Students entering this program are essentially agreeing to focus their work on trauma psychology rather than sampling the variety of populations and problems that might form the elective offerings in another program.

This program adheres to the scientist-practitioner model of training in clinical psychology, commonly referred to as the Boulder model. Under this model, professional psychologists are trained to be both scientists and practitioners with the goal of enhancing the interplay between science and practice. In an emerging field, such as trauma psychology, it is of utmost importance that practitioners add to the existing knowledge base regarding application strategies that are effective, and that scientists be informed of applied issues in shaping their pursuit of knowledge.

The curriculum will require at least five years of post-baccalaureate work to accomplish requirements of the doctoral degree. Students complete 101 hours of required and elective courses, a comprehensive exam, a dissertation of original scholarship, clinical practica, and a clinical internship (off site). The clinical curriculum requires specific coursework, required for licensure and accreditation, and an off-site internship year. Students who enter the program with a BA or BS degree will earn an MA en route to the doctoral degree through the mechanism of the existing MA program.

Timeline for program completion: Completion of the Clinical Psychology PhD program from the BA or BS starting point will typically take five years of residence on campus with the sixth year allocated for internship (students should expect this time frame as the general rule pending unusual exceptions).

Doctoral students are also advised that this is a 12-month program with clinical Practicum obligations during the summers and some limited Spring pre-term course requirements. Clinical and research work are continuous without regard to the semester structures and students are funded to participate year-round.

Successful completion of an APA-approved (or equivalent) one year (2000 hour) pre-doctoral internship is required for graduation.

This program values and promotes self-awareness as a significant component of training in clinical psychology. Students in this program engage in self-awareness exercises within their courses and practicum training, including assignments that promote growth in awareness of social structures that sustain privilege and oppression. Students are also strongly encouraged to engage in their own psychotherapy during their training.

Clinical Psychology with a Major Area of Focus in Trauma Psychology

Established in 2015, this scientist-practioner model program is designed to train students who have a particular interest in conducting research and working clinically with traumatized individuals in the the area of Clinical Psychology with a Major Area of Focus in Trauma Psychology. This area of study is based on the New Haven Competencies for Trauma Psychology.

Program Coursework

Required Coursework & Model Curriculum

The curriculum will typically take 5 years of residence on campus and a 6th year allocated for an internship. Students complete 101 hours minimum of required and elective courses, a Comprehensive Examination, a thesis and a dissertation of original scholarship, clinical practica, and a 12 month clinical internship (off-site). This number may be higher depending on your individual circumstances. The clinical curriculum is designed to meet Colorado requirements for licensure as well as American Psychological Association accreditation standards. Students who enter the program with a B.A. or B.S. degree will earn an M.A. en route to the doctoral degree through the mechanism of the existing clinical M.A. program.



Charles C. Benight, Ph.D., Professor, Executive Director of the Lyda Hill Institute of Human Resilience
Steven L. Bistricky, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Trauma Psychology
Heather Littleton, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Director of Research Operations of the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience
Colin T. Mahoney, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Trauma Psychology

Accreditation & Awards

The Ph.D. program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association through 2029.

2021 - UCCS Graduate School programs in latest U.S. News & World Report Rankings

#120 in the nation for best graduate Clinical Psychology program

#148 in the nation for best graduate Psychology program

APA Accreditation

The American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation (CoA) accredits doctoral programs in clinical, counseling, and school psychology, as well as predoctoral internship and postdoctoral residency training programs in accordance with published guidelines and procedures.

Since 2007, the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs has been an APA accredited program built on the Boulder Scientist/Practitioner Model.

Graduating from an APA-accredited program provides an educational and scientific foundation on which to build a career in psychology, providing evidence-based clinical service to the public.

Why APA accreditation matters?

Questions related to the program's accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202)336-5979

Diversity Initiatives

The Psychology Department fosters inclusion, equity, and diversity of all members of society. 

Graduate Program FAQs

Graduate study has been a part of the UCCS Psychology Department since 1977.  You'll learn from our faculty in an environment designed for learning, research and student success – smaller class sizes than our peer institutions and the ability to connect one-on-one with your professors and supervisors.

How to Apply

Graduate students are those who have already completed a Bachelor's Degree and are pursuing a Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate, or Graduate Non-Degree program. We also accept applications for non-degree seeking graduate students who wish to take courses but aren't planning on completing a degree or certificate program at UCCS. International students interested in UCCS Graduate School programs should also use this application.